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- Title: The Shochu Handbook – An Introduction to Japan’s Indigenous Distilled Drink
- Autor: Christopher Pellegrini
- Publisher (Publication Date): Christopher Pellegrini (July 22, 2014)
- Language: English
For hundreds of years, shochu and awamori have dwelled near the center of Japan’s vaunted culinary traditions. Despite outselling most other alcoholic beverages in Japan, however, these premium distilled treats have largely remained hidden from the rest of the world. But that is beginning to change. Written by licensed sommelier and longtime Japan resident, Christopher Pellegrini, The Shochu Handbook is the first major reference published on the subject in a language other than Japanese. Illustrated with dozens of beautiful photographs, the book covers everything from how distilled beverages arrived in Japan to a step-by-step overview of the distilling process. There are also detailed chapters devoted to deciphering bottle labels, food pairing, serving styles, and speaking the language of these divine drinks. Packed with information, The Shochu Handbook also includes an extensive list of recommended bottles, a chapter devoted to cocktail and homemade liqueur recipes, and Japanese-English language assistance for everything from ordering shochu in a bar to telling the difference between single-distilled and multiple-distilled drinks. This book is essential for Japanese food enthusiasts, restauranteurs, distributors, journalists, retailers, beverage professionals, and everyone in between.
Unlike nihonshu (‘sake’), which has been well-known (although often misunderstood) outside Japan, and Japanese whisky, which has experienced such a boom in global popularity that iconic offerings are increasingly difficult (or costly) to procure, shochu is a drink that has largely flown under the radar outside its home country. It’s a quirky beverage in that it can be made from wide variety of base ingredients (resulting in strikingly different flavor profiles), its alcohol content is in that rare middle ground between fermented drinks (e.g., beer, wine, sake) and most distilled drinks (e.g., whisky, vodka, etc.), and unlike sake is mostly produced in a concentrated region within Japan (the southern island of Kyushu, and Okinawa in the case of shochu’s sibling drink, awamori) despite its popularity throughout the country. Through his lively and engaging writing, Chris Pellegrini introduces the reader to shochu, explaining what it is (and what it is NOT) and other useful details in a way that is concise, informative, and interesting. Regardless of whether you’re a shochu novice or a more experienced hand, this book will have something for everyone. If you haven’t tried shochu before, what are you waiting for? And if you have already, this book will leave you thirsty for more.